Photo: Chika Okeke-Agulu


Chika Okeke-Agulu is an artist, critic and art historian who specialises in Indigenous, modern and contemporary African and African Diaspora art history and theory. He is the Director of Program in African Studies and Director of African World Initiative as well as Robert Schirmer Professor of Art and Archaeology and African American Studies at Princeton University. In 2022, he was appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art, Oxford University (2022-2023).

As a curator, he co-organised Samuel Fosso: Affirmative Acts, Princeton University Art Museum (2022) and the travelling survey El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2019) (with Okwui Enwezor). Okeke-Agulu has co-organised numerous other art exhibitions, including Who Knows Tomorrow, Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2010); 5th Gwangju Biennale (2004); The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2001); Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1995) and the Nigerian section, 1st Johannesburg Biennale (1995).

His books include El Anatsui. The Reinvention of Sculpture (Damiani, 2022); African Artists: From 1882 to Now (Phaidon, 2021); Yusuf Grillo: Painting. Lagos. Life (Skira, 2020); Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text (Skira, 2016); Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (Duke UP, 2015); and Contemporary African Art Since 1980 (Damiani, 2010). His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Artforum, The Guardian (Lagos), October, Huffington Post and South Atlantic Quarterly.

Okeke-Agulu serves on the advisory boards of the Hyundai Tate Research Centre, Tate Modern, London; The Africa Institute, Sharjah; and Bët-bi/Le Korsa Museum Project, Senegal. He is also on the advisory council of Mpala Research Center, Nanyuki, Kenya; and serves on the executive board of Princeton in Africa, and on the editorial board of Journal of Visual Culture.

His many awards include Honourable Mention, The Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award, Arts Council of African Studies Association (2017); The Melville J. Herskovits Prize for the most important scholarly work in African Studies published in English during the preceding year (African Studies Association, 2016); and Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism (College Art Association, 2016).

He was Fellow at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (2008) and a Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow (2010). He was elected Fellow of the The British Academy in 2022.

Born in Umuahia, Nigeria, Okeke-Agulu lives and works in Princeton, New Jersey.

SAF participation:
Sharjah Biennial 15 (2023)
March Meeting 2021, 2022, 2023